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Recommendations on the Fight Against Impunity for Grave International Crimes

From April 27 to May 2, 2015, the Congolese Ministry of Justice and Human Rights is convening “Etats Généraux,” a large conference to evaluate justice sector reform in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The conference will be held in the capital, Kinshasa…
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The rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continues to kill civilians and abduct children in remote regions of central Africa at an alarming rate with no end in sight. Nearly three years after the LRA began its most current campaign of attacking villages and…
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The Risks of Putting Justice Aside for Peace

Introduction I. Afghanistan II. Burundi III. Democratic Republic of the Congo IV. Indonesia Conclusion Introduction Since the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, the belief that those responsible for serious human rights abuses should be…
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A mixed chamber and other accountability measures

Introduction I. Establishing a mixed chamber for the Congo: why, what and how? II. The role of the African Union III. Other measures to address grave crimes committed in the DRC   Introduction On October 1, 2010, the United Nations' Office of…
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Reasons to Oppose the Attorney General Interfering with the Arrest Warrant Procedure in Cases of Suspected Serious International Crimes

The organizations that have prepared this briefing paper are gravely concerned that any changes to existing law and procedure will undermine the capacity of victims of serious international crimes to hold accountable alleged perpetrators who come within…
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I. Introduction II. Rationale for a mixed chamber III. Legal foundation IV. International participation V. Capacity-building/sharing expertise I. Introduction Human Rights Watch has worked closely and extensively with the Congolese justice system in a…
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Justice matters to the US in Kenya, Darfur, and Congo... Kenya: "And I have urged that the Kenyan government try to find the way forward to handle this themselves, but if that is not possible, and people think it is not, then the names that have been…
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Early History (1300s - 1800s)The Belgians (1870s - 1959)Independence (1960 - 1990s)War (1994 - 1999)Failed Peace Efforts (1999 - 2003)Transition (2003 - 2006) A New Government but More Conflict (2006 - ) Early History 1300s The Kongo empire, a highly…
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Strengthening the Security Council’s Response to Sexual Violence and Attacks on Education in Armed Conflict

For a full decade, the UN Security Council has addressed the severe abuses that children experience in armed conflict. Its response has included a series of six resolutions (1261, 1314, 1379, 1460, 1539, and 1612), the creation of a specialized working…
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A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper

Human Rights Watch is pleased with the implementation six months ago of a program for the urgent restoration of the criminal justice system in Bunia, Ituri province ("the program"). This program is the result of a joint effort by the government of the DRC…
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A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper

Human Rights Watch strongly believes that accountability for serious past crimes is the foundation for post-conflict reconstruction based on the rule of law and respect for human rights. This Briefing Paper looks at the challenges in addressing impunity…
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A Human Rights Watch Briefing Paper

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe has presented a bill to his congress that would allow paramilitaries who have committed atrocities to skip prison for a fee. Among them are men that have ordered and carried out the killings of thousands of Colombian…
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This briefing paper analyzes the new peace plan in the light of previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements – all of which fatally ignored basic human rights and international humanitarian law protections. Instead, the plans let abuses proliferate to the…
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The visit of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to Colombia on December 3 and 4 marks an important opportunity to advance human rights and the rule of law in that country. In recent weeks, the United States has taken a number of steps towards that…
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Joseph Kabila, newly installed president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), has inherited an intractable war, a near void of civil institutions, and a legacy of human rights abuses committed under the rule of his father, the late President…
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A Human Rights Watch Background Briefing

International humanitarian law categorically prohibits hostage-taking. On April 12, 2000 Israel's highest court ruled that the administrative detention of Lebanese nationals as "bargaining chips" -- hostages -- was illegal under Israeli domestic law,…
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